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Contaminated fish seems to cause food poisoning tragedy on Cosco bulker

Thirteen of 21 seafarers on one of COSCO's bulk carriers, Wu Zhou 8, have died from food poisoning after eating what is suspected to be contaminated fish.

The 2013-built, 76,000 dwt ship, loaded with tapioca chips, departed Koh Si Chang, Thailand, on 20 September and was due to arrive in Lianyungang on 8 October.

However, on 29 September, all the crew started experiencing abdominal pain and vomitting after dinner. The crew members ate around 5.30 pm local time that day and began feeling unwell around 11 pm.

The ship was off Con Rao Island in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, Vietnam, at the time, and through a local ship agency, sought emergency medical help.

Unfortunately, by the time medics boarded the ship on 30 September, 10 crewmen had already died and another two died on the way to Vietnamese hospitals. One more crewman died on 2 October.

The other eight survivors were given intensive treatment and are now said to be in stable condition.

Vietnamese media, quoting the survivors, reported that their dinner on 29 September comprised of fish and vegetables that were cooked on the ship, prompting speculation that the fish may have been the culprit. The cause of the food poisoning is being investigated.

Yesterday (2 October), the Chinese embassy in Vietnam engaged a helicopter from the Vietnam Helicopter Corporation to carry the eight survivors to Vung Tau Hospital for further treatment. A Vietnamese search and rescue craft, SAR 72, transported the remains of the 13 dead seafarers to the Chinese authorities.

Container News tried to contact Cosco’s ship management company but an employee who answered said the matter is under investigation and declined comment.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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